This guest post is by Lynn and entry in our non-fiction writing contest .
Unfortunately, I am a lot newer to prepping than I would like to admit. That feeling in your gut that something just isn’t right has been there for a while before I finally listened. Now my family struggles to make up for lost time. I have become like a machine in the last years attempting to streamline and speed our progress to feeling like we at least are somewhat “set”. My husband asked me what I wanted for Mother’s Day and I told him an AK-47 was what I wanted the most.
He delivered after selling, scrimping and saving. I was surprised and thrilled. I have gone from being someone who was nervous even having a loaded gun in the house, to someone who is very capable with my weapon. A bad experience with firearms in my late teens made me a little gun-shy (pun intended) even though I grew up in a family that would target practice once a week. Thank god for muscle memory.
I realize that I am far behind most of you as wisdom goes but can offer some information. I have rapidly been reading, watching and gathering as much knowledge as fast as possible. One thing that I have a gift for that may be of some use to readers are my skills with shopping. By utilizing coupons and watching sales, I have been able to rapidly build up a stockpile.
Why I realize many of us may be skittish when it comes to social media, I also know what an excellent tool it can be when it comes to saving money. On Facebook, I have liked sites such as The Frugal Family, Motherhood on a Dime and Thrifty Wifey and when the deals are posted, they scroll across my newsfeed. For instance, today I was able to score 6 -24 packs of Crayola Crayons for .29 each.
Less money on school supplies, stocking stuffers, birthday presents equals more money in the pocket for preps. Kroger’s this week has buy 10 save 5 this week. I will purchase 10 gallons of water for 4.90!
Take advantage of the programs that many drug stores offer. I used to just assume drug stores were to expense to shop at. CVS and Walgreens (the two main drug stores in my area) are like gold mines. They both offer reward programs with Extrabucks being at CVS and Register Rewards available at Walgreens. The websites I mention above are excellent sources that basically spell out which coupon is needed to get the deal you are after.
Sometimes a coupon is not even needed. For example, CVS and Walgreens both will offer contact solution for 8.99 with 8.99 EB or RR back. That equals free! You pay for the product and then upon check out are issued the 8.99 back to be used in the store. I haven’t bought contact solution in two years but have 5 boxes sitting in our pantry/store in the basement. Start looking around to find your favorite sites that fit your situation the best.
I have used coupons/store deals to build up three impressive first aid kits for virtually nothing. I even got the actual first aid kits for free by purchasing two Johnson and Johnson products (at a great discount + coupons). Study sales cycles and get a feel for when things will go on sale next. Walgreens frequently has baking soda and salt on sale for .59 each approximately one a month. Buy the limit and build your pantry up.
You can easily search “Sale Cycles” on the net and find when the most optimal time to buy any given item is. I am on a first name basis with the manager at several stores in my hometown. They help me out so much by pointing me to deals I may have missed and making sure I get a rain check for any items they may not have in stock. I am always polite and thankful and they appreciate it and in return they look out for me.
So get that Sunday Paper and pull those ads/coupons and sit down and make the deals work for you! There are also excellent coupon sites on the web where you can print out coupons as well. Couponmom.com and coupons.com are two of the best. Also, even Sam’s club has jumped in with the preppersJ. They now sell Auguson Farms products at great prices and allow us to build up our stores quickly. Less money on beans and more money on ammo is working out pretty well for us.
Amazon is another great asset. While of us may not have a “Kindle”, you can download the Kindle for PC free and those sites I mentioned above are always alerting me to free books. I have gotten books on how to make soap, can, garden, survival medicine, you name it! While I realize these tools would not be available in a grid down situation, I print or write out the most important information and put it together in a grab and go form.
I have a young daughter and she out grows shoes and clothes as fast as we guy them. Yard sales, Thrift stores and Goodwill are a godsend in these times. When I find something at a yard sale that is three sizes too big but in great shape for the right price, I snatch it up and put it a labeled bin with the size on the side. We have picked up a brand new camping cookware set at a yard sale for only 5.00! Our major scores have also been hand crank grinders, old-fashioned wash boards, iron skillets and camping gear.
We have been able to accelerate the rate of our prepping by utilizing these sales to gather things that we could never afford to pay full price for. Keep a list of things you are looking for and carry it with you. I almost believe it wills the item to you. Several times I have set out thinking, I hope I can find some shoes for our girl only to happen upon a yard sale with shoes in her size or one size bigger to get us through the school year that are in fantastic shape! I have happened upon a nice dehydrator in this same fashion as well as affordable second hand tools.
In part of my education, I follow my grandma and grandpa around as they can and garden and they patiently explain to me exactly what they are doing and why. I have also taken to watching documentaries that have changed and challenged me in ways I can’t even explain. If you have not already viewed the documentaries below, they are what shook me awake and I am in complete awe of what our great country is coming to.
- Zeitgeist: The Movie
- Independent Intervention
- Food, Inc.
- 911 In Plane Site
- Loose Change 9/11 An American Coup
- The End of America
Highly recommended and if you are a Netflix customer, free to watch.
We are working on a plan to acquire land and unfortunately, that is a slow process. My biggest fear is looking into my daughter’s eyes and not being able to help her. I know that is not something that needs to be explained to most parents. I learn daily from you all here on this blog and am so thankful for the valuable information that you all share. Thank you for reading.
M.D. Adds : you might also find this post helpful “Prepping on the cheap with coupons!”
This contest will end on October 10 2012 – prizes include:
- First Place : $100 Cash.
- Second Place : $50 Cash.
- Third Place : $25 Cash.
Contest ends on October 10 2012.